CHICAGO, September 7, 2012 — When Democrats and Republicans took the podiums at their respective conventions, some people expected them to convey to the viewing audience of America their visions and ideas concerning how our country should move forward. We wanted them to reach through the TV into the living rooms of every one of those rare, undecided voters and explain to them, and the rest of us, what they really stand for.
As we learned from their conventions, they really aren’t interested in educating undecided voters. It’s impossible to be ignorant of the stances of the two parties at this point in the campaign; both parties are very firm about their ideas, which have very little in common.
The Democrats know this, the Republicans know this, and so their conventions weren’t really meant to educate anyone.
They were designed to inspire the base and whip up enthusiasm for getting out their voters.
Americans are as hard-nosed and stubborn about their politics as their politicians are, so once people have made up their minds, it takes a minor miracle to change them. Going into this election, the vast majority of Americans have made their minds up. They did that a long time ago and are only waiting for November to come to cast their votes.
They aren’t listening anymore, they aren’t contemplating anymore; they have made their decision about who they intend to vote for, and now are only deciding whether they want to take the effort to actually do it.
To quote Jerry Seinfeld, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” but it’s true. It’s not that these people have no interest in doing any research (though many have none), it’s not that they don’t want to think seriously about which party’s vision best matches their own interests.
It’s simply that they like one party or the other, and they need no further information about the candidates.
These conventions do pay careful attention to undecided voters in swing states like Ohio and Florida, but if these voters are undecided at this point, it’s because they aren’t already familiar with the candidates and their policies and don’t really care. These are people who aren’t even sure they’re going to vote unless someone gets up and does something much more basic that educate them.
The undecided voters are the most likely to not go to the polls, and logically they have little incentive to do so. The line the candidates walk is to not annoy these voters and send them into the arms of the other side, and at the same time to inspire their own supporters to go vote, and convince their friends and neighbors to vote as well. What other logical choice do the candidates have besides to make such claims as “we will not downsize the American dream.”
The candidates aren’t there to educate the people about how quickly their plan will add how many jobs, who’s doing what with Medicare, who lied and who is out of touch; everyone who cares about the election has already heard.
Democrats and Republicans are there to tell Joe Plumber in Ohio that they are exciting and the next big thing. Their job is to tell him that their party is worth getting enthusiastic about. That’s the only way they’ll manage to get these people to the polls, and their knowledge of this fact is conveyed simply by the structure of their speeches.
So if it’s possible that you can still be unaware of what the candidates want, read about it. Try to find a nonbiased source, if there still is one in existence, and read about it, because you won’t gain anything substantial from these conventions.
There’s no point in watching them if you’ve made up your mind.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are just trying to convince the few undecided Americans left to get off of their couches and punch their name for the heck of it.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
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